Firstly, let us sit back and savour Wallaroo Eva Karpani, a tighthead prop who took out player of the match, primarily on the back of her work in the open.
As a quick aside, Fijiana tighthead Siteri Rasolea was also player of the match in the final game of the weekend. Is this the rising up of the front rowers?
But back to the game, while it was not a clinical win by the Wallaroos, it was gutsy. In a real positive there is still a lot of upside.
As the scoreline indicates, neither team took full advantage of the wind when they had it. Scotland scored 12 points in the first half and Australia scored 14 in the second.
The front row combo of Karpani, Liz Patu and Adiana Talakai was critical. While the backline was pretty clunky in the first half, as was the kicking, the Wallaroos were kept in the game by a solid set-piece.
Always a good sign, the forwards won 100 per cent of their scrum feeds, which was a good effort considering the yellow and red cards to their hookers. Scotland only won six of their nine scrum feeds. Again the lineout was more than solid winning nine of their 11 throws.
Australia would not have won without Lori Cramer’s goal kicking and her ‘body on the line’ try-saving tackle in the first half. You would expect Exeter were pretty impressed by her performance and look forward to her joining them post-Cup.
Like a broken record but a highlight again is how dangerous Bienne Terita is. Many will have seen her barnstorming run. The Wallaroos just need to work out how to get the ball into her hands more often.
The battle between the number eights, Grace Hamilton and Jade Konkel-Roberts, was a belter. Both are workhorses and the go-to players for their teams. Hamilton, with 23, had almost twice as many runs than any other Australian player and was second to Emily Chancellor in the tackle count.
Coach Jay Tregonning used the bench well and they all did their job. Both props Emily Robinson and Bride O’Gorman came on around the 60-minute mark and kept the scrum solid. Piper Duck is a very skilled backrower and really adds something when she comes on. With Hamilton, Shannon Parry and Emily Chancellor over 30, Duck and Grace Kemp are the backrow future. Similarly Trilleen Pomare was impressive when she came on for Sharni Williams.
However, the Wallaroos have a discipline problem, being shown a red card and two yellows that became a red. Australia also conceded 13 penalties, having conceded 12 against New Zealand.
In the second half they had enough territory and possession to put the game to bed but their accuracy and execution was poor at key moments. The Wallaroos had 58 per cent of the possession but only 44 per cent of the territory.
Australia conceded 16 turnovers, Scotland 15, which indicates the ruck was a real battle. It is worth noting against New Zealand Australia only conceded ten turnovers.
Scotland played well, their defence in the second half was outstanding.
In summary: tick, the Wallaroos got the win and there were no major weaknesses in the lineup. Probably the only exception was at flyhalf, where Arabella McKenzie did not have a great kicking game, noting she did take a knock to her knee in the first half but still played out the game.
Next up are Wales, who are known to get under the opposition’s skin, so the Wallaroos will need to be disciplined. One gets the feeling defence and the ruck are going to be the battlegrounds.
Who knows what the Australia team will be, with red cards and a couple of injuries to Parry and McKenzie to be sorted. If possible, roll out the same team, if not, Duck for Parry, Pomare for McKenzie and Brumbies hooker Tania Naden will likely get her debut.
With a win over Wales, a quarter-final is locked in, so the Wallaroos have it all to play for.